Air Compressor - water remover/dryer - What do you have ?

Discussion in 'Tips 'n' Tricks Topic' started by Smokin'Joe, Sep 1, 2019.

  1. Smokin'Joe

    Smokin'Joe Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    I have a 50 gallon upright air compressor. Historically I used a small cheap dryer in the line and changed them out periodically. This was fine for infrequent use, but now my compressor has a permanent home near a wall and I'd like to run some permanent hard lines on the wall that include some water removal diversions. I researched a bit online, but I recall seeing some threads on here about some of your systems.

    I don't really want to invest in a high grade unit, but I'm sure some of you have some home built setups that work well.

    Pics, diagrams, etc would be good. Which works best W shapes U shapes, etc.

    Thanks !

    -
     
  2. Gary S

    Gary S Administrator Lifetime Gold Member

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    I don't use any kind of dryer. I don't have any long lines from the compressor. I simply drain a bit of air from the tank when finished with use and in my dry climate, I seldom get more than a tiny spit of water from the bottom of the tank.
    Depending on your use and your climate, you might need more or less than mine needs.
     
  3. 70lt1z28

    70lt1z28 Veteran Member Gold Member

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    You take care of water in steps.
    The first step is an aftercooler. This is a heat exchanger that sits right after the compressor head before the tank. If sized correctly, it will take the high temperature (~250-300F) compressed air and cool it to a few degrees above ambient.
    here's mine:
    upload_2019-9-2_8-30-5.png
    There a muffin fan behind it to push air through it:
    upload_2019-9-2_8-35-10.png
    This is after 7 minutes running in the winter with an ambient garage temp of 65F degrees
    upload_2019-9-2_8-48-28.png

    There is a water-air separator just after the cooler. When its humid (most summer days in Ohio) that will fill up about once an hour. It self drains. This setup keeps the water out of the tank so it doesn't rust. The tank has an automatic drain that runs once a day. I rarely get anything out of it.
    Just after the tank is another water-air separator just after the main ball valve.

    from here it kind of depends on how much painting you are going to do. The ultimate is a refrigerated dryer. Harbor Fright actually has a pretty good one but is 400 bucks
    https://www.harborfreight.com/compressed-air-dryer-40211.html

    Water falls out of suspension from the compressed air when you lower the temperature of the compressed air. The lower the temp, the more water that falls out. That's why you see refrigerated dryer rated at degrees dew point. At -40 you have 128PPM of water vapor, which for what we are doing is effectively zero.

    I went with a point-of-use desiccant dryer followed by Motorguard M60 submicron filter-dryer:
    upload_2019-9-2_8-49-18.png

    There is a filter-regulator just after the Motorguard that I use to regulate air to the gun. I have yet to find even one drop of water in it.

    This system works great with the only downside having to occasionally dry the desiccant in an oven set at 250F for 2 to 3 hours. I also use the desiccant dryer at my blast booth

    I would also recommend the Milton air quick connects as they are high flow and HVLP paint guns are real air hogs.

    I've seen those copper aftercoolers built on the wall that route the pipe up and down many times. I guess they work but keep in mind that every 90 degree bend is flow reduction in the system due to friction. You may have to go with 3/4 inch copper but then the air is not cooling as effectively as 1/2". I didn't have the wall space for this and wanted to keep the cooler with the compressor, hence the fan forced unit. Another reason was the cooler was an old hydraulic system cooler that had a hole in the side pipe and was being pitched out at work. I brazed the hole shut and found the fan for 25 bucks on eBay. Altogether with the coalescing filter and fittings I've got about 100 bucks in it.

    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
    hubedobeedo and dave@ztech like this.
  4. tom3

    tom3 Veteran Member

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    Hard to explain but the picture might do:

    air dryer bucket.jpg

    Have to run cool water into the bucket with a dryer on the output line.
     
  5. 70lt1z28

    70lt1z28 Veteran Member Gold Member

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    Those work well too. Fill wirh ice water even better. Dry ice too.
     
  6. Rene Melten

    Rene Melten Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Last edited: Sep 15, 2019
  7. Smokin'Joe

    Smokin'Joe Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Hello everyone who posted, thank you for taking time to give some ideas. 70Lt1Z that's a pretty elaborate system and detail, I should be able to incorporate some of those into my system, Gary, good advice as well, Tom3, that picture speaks volumes and Rene, the link you provided, that design is more towards what I had in mind when I was contemplating this, but all are good concepts. Heck, I may end up with a bit of everything by the time I'm done.

    Thanks to you all for taking time to post, I certainly appreciate it.

    --
     
    Rene Melten likes this.
  8. Jeep43

    Jeep43 Veteran Member

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    My 60 gallon compressor is in the rear corner of the garage. I ran 18' of copper on a small downgrade along the side of the garage kneewall. Then I doubled it back the other way also with a down grade. I put a section of vertical pipe with a drain at both the "bottom" of the V and the end of run to catch "runoff". At the end of run I have a water separator then to a hose reel.

    I used to run hose right off the tank and would often clog up my blaster with a splat of water, now I never see moisture.
     
  9. 71flh

    71flh Veteran Member

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    Regarding post 6, the trouble is you have to drain every drop everytime (nasty black water spraying if you don't). My (perhaps not so bright) system has two spots for water to go; back to the tank, or out the end where there are water traps. I (try to) cool the air in black pipe with .25" of tilt per foot. Since I have a two car garage, having one drop isn't an issue to me.
     
  10. Rene Melten

    Rene Melten Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Got it, having one drop isn't an issue to you.
     

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